Synopsis and Overview
The Mandalorian and The Child meet up with some old “friends”. The Mandalorian is desperate for some more credits, so he joins the team of scoundrels led by Mayfield (Bill Burr) and hired by Ranzar Malk (Mark Boone Junior). Their job is to break into a New Republic space prison and free a prisoner.
The music in The Mandalorian (and all-Star Wars) has been significantly consistent, and this remains the same for this installment in the inaugural season. Ludwig Goransson has delivered a hit of a score in each of the episodes so far. Oftentimes, the music of Star Wars is as important as the main characters. So, it is important to nail the score, and he does just that. The music that he composes helps progress the story along in a way that has the feel of a classic prison heist movie. The last few episodes of The Mandalorian have had mixed reviews, but one thing that has stayed perfect is the music.
Cinematography and Visuals
This is another area where The Mandalorian continues to deliver at near perfection. This episode took place mostly inside, which was a different beat than previous episodes, and I loved this choice. Most of the first season has included stunning visuals from outside landscapes, and while I’ve enjoyed that, seeing an adventure on the inside was refreshing.
The set design felt like something straight out of the Original Trilogy, which most of this season has had that similar feel. Specifically, the lighting in this episode was terrific. There was a point when Mando learned that he must turn against his team, and visually it felt like a slasher film. Sure, it was not scary like a slasher or horror movie, but how Mando moved in the shadows gave off that slasher vibe.
Another visual plus for this episode was the X-Wings at the end, blowing up the spaceport that Mando had just left. Part of the greatness, that is Star Wars, is the visuals that occur in space, and this episode ended with some great ones. It had an attack on the space sport with some gorgeous explosions, as well as including sequel visual tie-ins with that version of the X-Wing. Using lighting as a visual way to tell the story was best used throughout this episode so far this season.
The writing throughout this episode was improved from previous weeks. It added some characters that played well off of each other and was a different and fun adventure in space. When I first watched this episode, I didn’t love any of the new characters. When I watched it getting ready to write this review, I thought all the new characters were well written. They were a group of misfits that struck a similar tone to those we met in Rogue One. Although their motives are different from those in Rogue One, they don’t have a specific belonging in this galaxy. Instead of their motivations being centered around hope, they are a group of anti-heroes just trying to get by in the galaxy.
In that first watch, the reason for my dislike of the new characters was I couldn’t find myself rooting for them, but I then realized that might be the point of this week’s supporting cast. Upon the rewatch, I did enjoy them a lot more than the first time and thought they helped push Mando’s story along. The main gripe I do have with them is they didn’t add many emotional layers to Mando, which we’ve been missing out on the last couple weeks. One could make the argument that the teasing of the whole helmet situation added emotional layers, but I want a more emotional connection with our “hero” than just surface-level banter. Another quick writing gripe – I didn’t love that Mando didn’t kill people this episode. He’s done it in the past, why not here? Maybe it is the start of a moral dilemma for Mando. I certainly hope that’s the case and not a character inconsistency.
Similar to above, I think the chemistry between the new characters was great, and Mando played well off of them. A consistency has been how well the new characters are integrated in with Mando, and these characters were no different. The new group of criminals also played off each other well, in addition to playing off of Mando well. You could tell Mando hated these characters he was stuck with, which without seeing facial expressions says a lot about the natural writing and chemistry within this episode.
None of the pacing was off and it didn’t jump around with how fast or slow the show was going. Like I mentioned before, this was a great prion heist episode and it kept with that pacing throughout. Not once did I feel like the episode was moving too quickly, or did I think it was dragging out too much. It moved naturally and I think my only critique with the pacing was I wish there was more of this heist. Even though it didn’t feel rushed, this would have been a great episode to take a two to three-episode arch to tell the story.
The MVP of this episode is resourcefulness. We got to see Mando put into a spot where he had to use all of his resources throughout the episode. It was the first peek at why he might’ve been considered the best bounty hunter in the parsec towards the beginning of the season. We saw him written into small corners during this episode where he had to think outside of the box to make sure he would make it out alive, and I loved it. My favorite example of this, and one of my favorite moments in the show so far, was when Mando was stuck in a jail cell and had to kill a droid and then use his arm to get out. That was the type of improvisation I love to see in Star Wars and hope there is more of that.
I liked this episode for the most part. While my gut reaction is it was not one of my favorites, my score for it might be the highest. I love a good prison heist in space and this episode delivered in that regard. Although this didn’t seem to progress the story too much, it was another fun chapter in this first season of The Mandalorian. Eventually, I want higher stakes when it comes to this show, and I think it will come. I could see this first season being all about fun adventures while the rest of the story focuses more on character development and a deeper story.
Overall Score: 9.6/10
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